Childcare Benefits Available to You
If you have young children and are just starting back at work, the costs of childcare can carry a bitter sting. Luckily there are benefits and help available to offer support and make your life a little easier.
The benefits that you are entitled to are dependant upon your individual situation. Here are some of the benefits that could be available to you.
Early Years Education
If your child is aged between 3 and 4 then they are entitled to 15 hours off free education per week for 38 weeks out of the year. This education can take place in nurseries, playschools and preschools or at their childminders.
Child Tax Credit – If you have a child who lives with you and is under your care, then you could be entitled to child tax credit through the government.
Working Tax Credit – If you are working in a low paid job and are responsible for childcare then you could be entitled to working tax credit. If you are working and have to pay for childcare, you may also qualify for extra tax credits to help cover the costs.
Time off & flexible work
If your child is under the age of 5 then you are legally entitled to take 13 weeks of paternal leave in order to care for them. However, your employer is not obligated to pay you during this period but may do depending upon your employment package.
You have the right to request flexible working hours to allow you to care for your child if they are under the age of 6 (or under the age of 18 if they have a disability). To have the right to request flexible working patterns you must:
• Be the child’s biological parent, legal guardian, adopter or foster carer.
• Have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks.
• Be responsible for the child’s upbringing.
• Be making the application in order to care for the child.
This is a tax free lump sum that your will receive when you start full time work of at least 16 hours per week to help with the cost of childcare. You will receive a job grant if you are over the age of 25 and have been receiving; income support, job seekers allowance, incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance.
The job grant is currently £250 for single parents and couples. However if either you or your partner are under the age of 25 then different rules may apply.
For more information regarding childcare benefits and how they may affect you visit www.direct.gov.uk